UFOs, aliens, opioids, and alcohol: the hidden world of comedian George Carlin

UFO

MYSTERY WIRE — Iconic comedian George Carlin was an avid reader whose often-scathing stand-up monologues skewered human frailties and social trends. One topic he sometimes mentioned onstage is alien life.

Carlin passed away in 2008 from heart failure. It happened just one week after performing another show in Las Vegas. Over the course of 20 years, Las Vegas was a town where Carlin lived part time and often performed.

During his time in Las Vegas, Carlin and Mystery Wire’s George Knapp talked several times, often delving into the topic of UFOs and aliens among other things such as politics and political correctness.

George Carlin used extraterrestrials a few times in his stand-up routines, sort of a set-up line to comment on the sad state of humanity, but he never took any public positions about UFOs or aliens.

Behind the scenes though, he had an abiding interest in the topics. The comedian and Knapp exchanged tapes, books, and information about UFOs.

George Carlin and George Knapp in Las Vegas in the mid-1980s

“I met George Carlin in the mid 1980s. He came into KLAS and we interviewed him live in our studio for an evening newscast,” Knapp told Mystery Wire. “I chatted with him after the interview and then we stayed in touch. I would occasionally go to see him when he was in Las Vegas to perform (which was often.) In 1990, I started sending him tapes of the UFO stories and the multi-part series I was producing. In return, he would generously send me stacks of VHS tapes of his comedy specials and performances.  Over the years, I also sent him a few books – UFO books and also books about strange and archaic words, which he liked. He would send autographed copies of books he had written. When he came to town, I’d go to see him and chat in his dressing room about UFO related stories. He was deeply interested and it was clear he read a lot about the mystery, though he didn’t really want to be known publicly as a UFO guy, so I kept that to myself.”

Knapp’s final on-camera interview with Carlin came in 2004 and he spoke about his interest in what might await humans in the cosmos or in other dimensions.

“Yeah, I read a lot of articles and I try to read the books and you know,” Carlin said during the 2004 interview at the Stardust Hotel and Casino. “It would surprise me as it would surprise you George I know that you hold this sort of belief I’ll call it if this were the only thing that the universe stumbled into this life of people we have here whether it’s a god or whether it’s a some kind of organizing energy … An organizing energy, there’s got to be a lot of stuff. And the bubble, I’m just wanting to see how that string theory works out in the bubble, the chains and what’s in there. And I mean, there’s no end to end things you can imagine, and they’re bound to be some of them.”

In the interview, Carlin spoke candidly about substance abuse, creativity, and hostile audiences while unleashing blistering comments about political divisions, much of which sounds timely today.

Carlin also talked to Knapp about being fired from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas where he was a headliner. The same year he gave Knapp the interview featured in this story, he was fired by the bosses at MGM Grand after an altercation with his audience.

According to one version of what happened, after a poorly received set, filled with dark references to suicide bombings and beheadings, Carlin complained that he could not wait to get out of “this f****** hotel” and Las Vegas; he wanted to go back east, he said, “where the real people are”. He continued: “People who go to Las Vegas, you’ve got to question their f****** intellect to start with. Traveling hundreds and thousands of miles to essentially give your money to a large corporation is kind of f****** moronic. That’s what I’m always getting here is these kind of f****** people with very limited intellects.” When an audience member shouted, “Stop degrading us!” Carlin responded, “Thank you very much, whatever that was. I hope it was positive; if not, well, blow me.”

Shortly after this incident he was fired and almost immediately began treatment for alcohol and prescription painkiller addiction. Carlin was open about his issues with opioids and alcohol with Knapp, saying he began abusing opioids following a small surgery and was careful to keep his drinking in the shadows, saying he was a good functioning alcoholic.

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